As much as we moan and complain about the immodest dress on TV and in magazines the reality is that the biggest influence on how your daughter dresses is you, her mom. Everything you do and everything you wear is observed by little eyes and taken in, and it does matter. Wether they grow up to be just like you or the complete opposite you have a lot of influence on your daughter and that includes her view of fashion and modesty. Most women are not truly teaching their daughters to respect their body when they dress, sometimes consciously and other times subconsciously. The moms who like to push the envelope with risque clothing well, let’s assume they are not reading this article as modest dress is probably not a priority and they will pass on to their daughter the message of risque is ok. I on the other hand want my girls to love and respect both their body and fashion and yes the two go perfectly hand in hand.
I am very conscious of the way I dress knowing that one day my daughters will imitate it. I like to look good every day and I dress with intention and purpose showing them that style always has room for modesty. When you choose to wear over-sized t-shirts and baggy pants you are not teaching your daughter modesty. How will she ever know what length skirt is appropriate, or what cut of shirt is ok if you never show her? How will she know if a dress is too tight or if shirts are too revealing if you never give her examples? Like anything in life extremes are never good, if you take modesty to the extreme and just refuse to even try to dress in a flattering way what message are you sending your daughter? To be ashamed? To not even try? That all clothes are bad? If you wear your very tight workout gear all day long don’t be shocked when your teen wears super tight shirts and pants, you modeled it for them. Fitted workout gear has a place, its during a workout, but the message it sends as clothing is probably not what you mean to say.
From a very young age we stress modest dress with our girls. We talk about don’t show your tummy or your underwear. We discuss wearing bike shorts and leggings under dresses and we talk about things being too tight. Do I tell my 2 year old that one day too tight pants will get her the wrong kind of attention from a man? NO of course not, we discuss fit and comfort but long term the message sticks in her head of too tight pants are not a great choice. My girls never wear a dress or skirt with out bike shorts under it, I don’t even have to tell them this, they know it is to keep their underwear covered in case of a wardrobe malfunction. But one key point that is often missed ( and I made this mistake with my oldest) was not pointing out these are not shorts they are underwear covers so don’t show them off like you are wearing shorts. I also do not let my girls wear the bike shorts that are for under skirts as regular shorts thus keeping the message clear that bike shorts are for encouraging modesty. Ultimately it is up to me to buy appropriate clothes and pack up the clothes when they become too small and inappropriate, too often I hear a mom say these are probably too (short, tight ect) but they are just a little girl it’s not a big deal. But it is a big deal! If you let them wear super short and tight shorts then one day say, just kidding that’s not ok, it makes no sense. Is it hard sometimes to find appropriate length skirts and shorts? Yes it is. But is it worth searching out the right clothes to keep your little girl modest and teach her life long lessons? Yes it is!
When it comes to tops my girls regulate themselves by about age 5, they do the arm test and lift up to see if their belly shows, if it does they find a new shirt without me saying a word. Modesty is ingrained in my girls not as a limitation but as a normal aspect of dressing each day. When I make the mistake of squeezeing myself into pre-baby jeans too early because nothing else is clean my preschooler points out my underwear shows when I bend over and you know what? It is a great teaching moment and reminder that they see everything and take it all in and I need to be consistent in my message on how to dress.
Modesty is a tough concept for many adults but it doesn’t have to be, you can be stylish and dress in a flattering way while still being modest and more often than not the modest outfit is more flattering than the immodest one anyway. So do your daughters and yourself a favor, model good fashion choices for your girls from a young age and you will save yourself angst during the teenage years. If your daughter has to look outside the home for fashion advice it will not end up being in your favor.